The scoreboard operator at Schenectady High School will have to be alert Friday night when the Patriots meet Niskayuna in the Section II, Class AA football semifinals.
The last time these two Liberty Division rivals met Sept. 19, the two teams put on an offensive show the likes of which have been rarely seen outside of Arena Football. In the end, Schenectady pulled out a 64-42 victory after Niskayuna entered halftime with a 42-35 lead.
We'll just work hard on our basic reads and keys (on defense) this week in practice, said Niskayuna coach John Furey. "We've done a better job of late."
Indeed, Niskayuna's defense has been better at keeping opponents out of the end zone. The Silver Warriors (6-2) forced four Shenendehowa turnovers in a 34-28 victory in last Friday's Class AA quarterfinal in Clifton Park.
"I thought we played the run pretty well," said Furey. "The turnovers " most of them resulted from passes."
The key sequence came early in the fourth quarter. Shen (5-3) had just gotten the ball on a Niskayuna turnover near midfield and decided to go for a big play. Quarterback Andrew Kalish handed the ball off to Tyler Dehmer, who heaved a long pass into Niskayuna territory, where it was picked off by Brian Krol and returned to Niskayuna's 43-yard line.
"He did a great job of reading that play," Furey said of Krol.
Niskayuna quarterback Danny Peters made certain that his team capitalized on Shen's turnover. The senior called his own number, found a seam on the right side of the Plainsmen's defensive line and took off on a 42-yard touchdown run to give the Silver Warriors a 34-21 lead.
"He found the seam and went for it," Furey said of Peters, who finished the night with 174 rushing yards and 248 passing yards.